Jerry Houston will have no trouble making friends at his school with the meals he’s making. The 18-year-old Georgia native started his freshman year at the University of South Carolina Beaufort this fall and has reached instant popularity–both in school and on social media–due to his viral cooking videos.
His videos give southern baptist grandmother Sunday dinner, but some people might be surprised to know that young Jerry is all self-taught!
After having a rough childhood and even at some point becoming homeless, cooking was Jerry’s creative outlet. “It’s very soothing,” he tells The Shade Room. “I turned something that was negative into positivity.”
Jerry explains he didn’t have too many positive figures to look up to when he was a child. After being shuffled from family home to home, he says he was homeless before graduating high school but a former middle school teacher of his took him in so he could finish out school.
Cooking remained an avenue for Jerry, who says his real specialty is baking.
“It was an outlet for me to be creative,” he said. “When I was young I was never given a chance so when I got the chance I ran with it.”
After graduating from his technical high school, he journeyed to college where he is known for making feasts for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some of the dishes and meals he’s made include baked chicken, macaroni and cheese, seafood, creamy grits and cupcakes.
His most watched video on TikTok has over 15 million views.
“I’m crushing the game I feel,” Jerry said of his viral success on social media. “I enjoy just being able to inspire others. Via TikTok, I’ve received so many words of encouragement. I want to be consistent and stay at it and continue to give people inspiration.”
His goal is to own a bakery after college and his specialty will be red velvet cupcakes. In the immediate future, he’s also looking for a mentor to help him start a seasoning blend collection.
When asked if he had any advice for any other aspiring young chefs and bakers, he had this to say: “Stay consistent to what you’re doing, be humble throughout the process and never feel like you can’t turn to someone for help. You have to be able to take risks.”
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